Wolf is inside you
James slid his temporary I.D. card in the card-monitor which lit up one unmarked button of several. The elevator groaned then finally stopped and the doors opened at the floor that secured a special type of prisoner. All of the other rooms stood empty. A specially designed floor plan that held only one prisoner, no additional prisoners but her, So-seti, the granddaughter of the First born lycanthrope, Aisos, where the infected blood line had all started.
James unlocked the storage room doors, a cache of silver weaponry wall to wall, bladed weapons, daggers of all types, katanas and spears. On the floor were boxes of ammunition stacked up against the wall. He looked at the L-shaped table filled with shotguns, handguns, a mix of light and heavy revolvers, to 9 and 10 mm Glock automatics and AK-47 machine guns. With a shaky hand he filled out in triplicate mounds of paperwork on a clipboard chained to the wall using his secondary hand, since his AVM had claimed his once dominant left hand. He finally found the IV supplies in a drawer. He searched to find two saline bags and one silver nitrate solution bag before he quietly closed the door as he left the room.
James limped through the hallway with his cane bracing his unsteady weak left side as he reluctantly entered the doorway where So-seti was kept. She was back in the corner on the stretcher hooked up to several IVs and medical machines. Every time he saw her he cringed inside. Soseti smelt like death, James put on the surgical mask to lessen the smell, still his nose burned from odor of decay.
He saw her frail, thin, paper-like skin. She seemed to get thinner and thinner every time he blinked. But this time, James thought, she was almost skeletal in appearance. So-seti’s eyes were sunk in and rimmed in dark circles; her cheeks were tight and drawn in, the skin almost transparent. Her neck was so thin he could see the vertebrate as she lifted her head and tried to speak.
“Pleasssse...” spittle flew in the air as she hissed. She tried to move her arms but they were securely shackled to the stretcher bars which were reinforced.
“I... die... soon... pleasssse.” Again she spit.
So-seti spent millennia living as a wolf more than a woman. She transformed to human to go in the village to keep up with the times so she could speak broken, sometimes unrecognizable Latin, Samarian, and Mongolian and mangled old English.
“No… give me wet moon no more… I die soon...” the shackles tightened up as she pointed at the silver nitrate in James’s hand. Her nails were long and brittle he could see blue veins jutting out in her wrists.
So-seti had been difficult to control for the Lucem Dei until 1835 and the discovery of silver nitrate solution directly in her veins. James reluctantly observed her craggy body. Her breasts were wrinkly old deflated sacks, he could count the ribs in her chest and the muscles in her legs were atrophied. Her whole furrowed body starting to get a sickly gray, he didn’t know why but James felt sorry for her. He knew the supply of silver nitrate solution, he could tell by the flashing light, had run out and soon she would have enough strength to transform and no one in the compound wanted that. So-seti was allowed to change every six months to keep her alive but just barely.
James beheld her face and heard the chirping heart rate and blood pressure monitors, So-seti had been right, she was dying. Against his better judgment he set down the silver solution and picked up the tungsten carbide hip restraint. As soon as the custom restraint was secured So-seti knew what he was doing.
“Thank...” her voice was appreciative and softer now, “You.”
He stepped back carefully never letting his eyes off her as he unlocked the tranquilizer rifle on the wall by the doorway. He was not done loading the gun and cocking it back yet when the howling began.
Mesmerized by the quickness of it all he stood slack jawed and still, her bare skin transforming to fur in seconds, human visage to Wolf muzzle in the blink of an eye. He was afraid but as the Wolf thing stared into his scared and curious eyes, fear subsided. He saw in her eyes a sincere appreciation for what he had done. The calendar upon the wall told her she had two more months before the Gods Light would allow her to fully transform.
The door flew open abruptly hitting the wall with a bang. A troop of inquisitors with white lab coats stormed in, one took aim at the lycanthrope and fired. A direct hit with a mixture of silver nitrate and tranquilizer and So-seti morphed back to an all human form.
James couldn’t believe his eyes. The would-be corpse of the wrinkled woman was now plump and vibrant again. No one knew her age when she was captured but her sparse gray hair was fuller and lighter than before. The color returned to her cheeks and even her breasts were firm again. The wrinkles of So-seti’s face and neck filled and became less prominent even her eyes were younger. James tried to gauge her “age”, maybe latefifties, he thought. But it was amazing because before the transformation she had looked ninety to a hundred and extremely malnourished. Her ribs were less prominent but she still looked neglected for food and James guessed if he were to take the chains off that she would gnaw his entire arm off in hunger. His train of thought was interrupted by the man who fired the tranquilizer gun, he knew him as Carson.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Carson yelled. The rage in his eyes obvious, “She transforms on a strict schedule you moron, you could’ve been hurt or worse she could have escaped!”
The group checked to see if everything was all right and secure then they one by one left leaving just a doctor, Carson, and James in the room with So-seti who was now peacefully sleeping a drug-induced sleep. The remaining doctor checked the monitors for her vitals then also left the room with a reproachful glance.
“You know I have to report this to Byron, don’t you?” Carson angrily scorned James.
“Uh…uh…yes,” James muttered under his breath.
He checked the chains on the floor up to the bed where they wrapped around and secured by locks. Assured that they were secure he clapped his hands together. James absolutely hated Carson and his shiny bald head, squinty eyes, overly pump features, smug looks, it was hard to believe that Byron Atkins and Carson were not related. James could only tell Carson apart by his smaller stature, goatee and his white lab coat, which he always wore. But he tried to hide his frustration because even Carson was his superior.
Carson would not turn his back to So-seti; he cringed in undisguised disgust while barking orders. “Put a leash on that decrepit woman and report back to the office, got it?”
He motioned behind James where three silver chains and choker collars hung on the wall.
“Oooo…kay,” James said reluctantly. Upon hearing this Carson made his way out the door leaving James alone with So-seti. As the door shut So-seti opened her eyes.
“Too much stinging sleep thing, I wake easy.” Her broken English was hard to understand but he reasoned the years of being tranquilized repeatedly had made her immune to the sedative. She strained her neck trying to get closer to James.
“You sniff!” She was leaning uncomfortably close to him.
“What?” James shook his head slightly, he didn’t understand.
“Smell... smells you... Pleasssse!” It was the first time please was not followed by spittle.
James hesitated but confident she wasn’t going anywhere he slowly made his way to her but not close enough to risk her biting him. So-seti breathed in all of his scent once, twice, three times until she was confident she had her diagnosis.
“Wolf strong you. No need my bite you have you blood…Wolf blood in you, strong.” She looked into his eyes; she said it again and again until she saw some form of recognition in his eyes from her garble.
James couldn’t help but smell her scent too. It was different than before and the smell of decay was replaced with a wild forestry muck and wet dog aroma, though she hadn’t been outdoors in a millennium, it was almost intoxicating.
“What do, uh, you mean the Wolf is strong in, um, ME?” He couldn’t help himself, captivated, he found himself soaking up her strange aroma.
“You like me... understand? Wolf strong in you… fix arm, leg, spirit!” She touched a finger to her forehead to indicate the brain.
The result of her brief transformation, confidence, and better speech now, James could understand her better but it was still broken and garbled English.
A static filled message came on over the intercom, “James Riley you have been ordered to report to the office immediately.”
The scolding voice on the intercom distracted him just enough that he didn’t notice he had stepped closer to her bed until it was too late; her claws gripped his forearm tightly.
Well, he thought, this is it, death would come at any second and he closed his eyes for the inevitable, but it didn’t come. Instead she took his arm so that he looked at her and pointed to his forehead.
“Wolf Spirit fighting to get out…in you, it wagered a war in your head, which is why you are what you are.” She let go of his forearm and gestured to the left side of his body pointing to his weak left side.
Again, she gestured to his forehead and touched him, “resistance inside you win, why head burst.”
“I, I, uh, um, have to go.” James found himself telling her in a genuinely apologetic way. He walked backwards to the door his head was spinning.
“Moon spirit full in three nights, I feel it and you could too, look at it, see your heart.” So-seti said meekly.
When she had finished James slowly made his way through the door. He closed the door and resting his forehead against the wall he stood motionless for several minutes thinking. Was she right? He found himself obsessing over the lycanthrope’s words as he slowly hobbled along the long hallway over to the office. As a teenager he had had horrible headaches once a month or so, headaches so bad it felt like his head was going to explode and he wished for sweet release of death. When he was twenty he almost got his wish as the veins in his brain literally burst. Then he explored the possibility that the headaches every month coincided with a full moon, and he chuckled aloud. No, that’s not right, he argued with himself. The laugher stopped abruptly.
The aneurysm and subsequent semi-paralytic state of his left body made him turn to the church for answers. He found himself, however, in the fringe of the occult. He had always been happy. No, not happy, content till the words of an immortal lycanthrope had him questioning everything.
James pressed the button for the elevator. Still lost in thought he automatically headed toward the direction of Carson’s office. He was about to knock on the door when his fist froze. He needed to get out of the dank musty basement of the cathedral and get fresh air. He found himself turned around in the opposite direction heading to the steps that would lead him out of the basement. It was difficult for him to navigate steep stairs and he caught himself unbalanced once or twice and had to steady himself against the wall before righting himself again.
He limped himself upstairs, up the hallway, and pressed the button to the secret door, sliding the marble slab altar from the church upstairs free. A dozen or so feet to go past the oak pews until the double doors of the church swung open and he finally found himself out in the cloudless night sky. James stood still for what felt like an eternity on the steps out in the fresh night air. He breathed a sigh of relief then limped down the cobblestone path to the church gardens. James found himself looking up at a beautiful big silver glowing moon, three quarters full. It was majestic, the hairs on the back of his neck began to rise up and he felt goose bumps ripple up and down his body. Was she right? Was he a creature of the night, someone to fear, up until now someone to watch on the silver screen? Or was this just an elaborate ploy to gain his trust and her freedom? He limped over to the reflecting pond and took a good hard look at his image.
A light breeze blew the branches on the trees and music played softly on the wind chimes. A wave rippled through the cool, blue, man-made waters. James beheld his wavy visage and inwardly took a good hard look at his reflection.
James was fifty-eight years old, the gray hairs on his temples were peeking through and fine lines deepened in his face. He was a handsome man even when he had his aneurysm the telltale droop in the left side of his face was hardly noticeable. He lifted his right arm to his face and stroked his chin. The mirrored reflection had him stroking his chin with the left arm. He couldn’t help fantasizing now about his hand and leg. There was hesitation just for a moment. The group Lucem Dei had browbeat into his head lycanthropes are man’s scourge on the earth and an abomination. But he let go of all his fears of being ostracized as he could see himself suddenly running on all fours with the soft grass under his paws.
“Look into your heart.” James heard So-seti’s weak scratchy voice in his mind.
Matt said he had watched several God’s Light scientists who had done more suspected lycanthrope autopsies then he cared to count. What if the headaches were the struggles of keeping a pineal gland from calcifying? Besides the genetic physical markings of all werewolves in suspected adults one of the telltale sign is a soft pineal gland, and in the old lycanthrope’s brains’ they developed many tumorous veins to feed and protect the soft pineal and the pituitary gland. He couldn’t believe that he even entertained such blasphemy, but now he was obsessing over it. He found himself walking up to the steps of his house before he realized it.
He slipped his shoes off at the foot of his bed and covered himself up with a comforter, too tired to even take his clothing off. Thanks to the snitch Carson, he would have hell to pay tomorrow explaining to Byron his actions with So-seti. But for now he stuck his headphones in his ears, turned the volume up on his smuggled contraband music player, the thanks due to Matt who had a knack for smuggling anything in and for the first time drifted into a peaceful dream filled sleep.
In his dreams he wandered the woods…stark-naked, exposed to the elements. Walking in the forests barefoot and without his cane, in fact, James could use all his limbs fully when he walked and he danced in excitement. He wandered the massively wooded canopy until he could not continue any further. He beheld the magnificent forest, an amalgamation of all woodland areas all across the world. The Black Forest, Targhee Forest through Yellowstone, Majestic oaks to ash, and willow trees that looked as if they are weeping green tears towards the soil and Spruce trees as far as the eye could see. He breathed in the pleasant aromas of wild flowers and grass. He lifted his left hand in the air and waved it around smiling.
James pulled himself up on the limb of a tree and began to exercise for the first time using both hands for his pull-ups. One, two, up, down, then up again and again, thirty, thirty-one… ninety, and onehundred, finishing now without breaking a sweat James jumped down to the dirt and looked around steadying himself without his cane. He could not shake the excited feeling and he couldn’t shake the feeling of eyes watching him. Cunning, clever eyes watching him concealed and camouflaged in the shadows. A glowing set of eyes fixed upon his back, James spun around just in time to see an enormous lupine head bursting through the thick brush from which it had been hidden.
Intelligent Auburn eyes locked onto James’ eyes. He mused at the fact that the brown gray wolf’s eyes looked exactly like his own. The wolf’s head twisted in curiosity as it slowly crept forward toward James.
“The Wolf strong inside you,” So-seti’s voice in his head was getting louder, “the Wolf struggling to break out!”
The wolf pounced unexpectedly. Dense ivy with its vines bridged from tree to tree, breaking on the wolf’s burly chest. Leaving James no chance to defend himself, his limp arms laid by his side no time to react as the wolf’s limbs clutched his body in a snug embrace. In his wakening moments he would’ve been unbalanced, the left side of his body useless, but in his dreams all of his limbs functioned, his body unwavering and stable with both of his feet firmly planted in the dirt.
James wrestled the Wolf who stood on two legs with its paws around James’ neck. He felt the wolf’s hot stale breath; the wolf’s fur looked exactly the same as James’ hair and he even felt the wolf’s heart beating fast keeping time with his own heart. He knew his heart and the wolf’s were one and the same!
While the wolf and James locked eyes everything froze in time and space. The wolf’s body tensed for the impending attack. James did not close his eyes even though the wolf clamped down on his neck, its white curved fangs going through tender flesh with ease. However, no blood spewed out and he felt no pain at all.
Terrible pressure ensued. Like a chainsaw the wolf’s fangs ground through James’ skin with cold efficiency until the wolf buried its muzzle into his’ chest cavity. He strained his neck to see the wolf buried into his chest. Paws and jaws pulverizing his skin until he could only see the wolf’s shoulders.
The wolf’s back limbs reared up and its huge paws pressed against James’ hips. Tail wagging as its hindquarters waved from side to side. The wolf’s shoulders finally slipped through James’ gaping and exposed breast wound. The wolf then proceeded to occupy James’ form. First the wolf’s torso, then only a wagging tail as the hindquarters receded into James’ body and disappeared. He pressed his palms against his chest; no gaping wound could be seen or felt. The Wolf was gone from the dream world, but it was inside him… In fact, the wolf had always been subconsciously by his side, but was now inside of him. The Wolf and James were one.
James could hear So-seti’s voice in his head again, “…Wolf is inside you.”